INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A victim of a bi-state rapist got justice and an opportunity to confront her attacker on Thursday.
A Jackson County judge sentenced 26-year-old William Luth to 30 years in prison for the rape from two years ago of an Independence mom, while her daughter was in the same bed.
This is Luth’s second rape conviction. He also pleaded guilty in Johnson County, Kan., to raping a sheriff’s deputy in 2016. If not for that rape, Luth may never have been caught.
It was DNA from the deputy’s rape that led police to him and Brady Newman-Cadell, two men accused in the gang rape of Taylor Hirth. Her description of the crime in court read like a script to a horror movie, but these monsters are real.
Luth was silent leaving the courtroom Thursday.
On the record and on the stand, Hirth relived in great detail that night in February 2016, when her daughter climbed in her bed after having a nightmare, never knowing the real life terror that would be.
“When a young man put his hand across my face and woke me up out of a deep sleep,” Hirth said in court. “I cannot shake the feeling of opening my eyes and seeing my child laying vulnerable between myself and an intruder.”
Hirth’s victim impact statement was so graphic, FOX4 cannot publish much of the 16-page statement.
“It gave me my voice back,” Hirth said after court. “It let me tell my story without all of the sugar-coating and stuff, details that have been left out.”
Hirth talked about waking up to one man on top of her and another standing in her bedroom doorway. Her attackers pulling pants over her head before raping her multiple times, multiple ways, all while Hirth tried to protect and comfort her toddler daughter who woke up during the attack. Telling all of the horrific details while looking right at the man who admitted to raping her. Luth sat with his head down.
“It was empowering,” Hirth said. “I wanted to finally be able to look at him without sweatpants over my head and tell him the impact that he had.”
Hirth also addressed her vulnerability after the rape, when she said she got the sense that Independence police did not believe her nor took her case seriously. That’s until DNA from the rape of a Johnson County Deputy linked Luth to her case.
“It`s an odd twist of fate, isn`t it? That it was also a cop who got them captured and validated my story,” Hirth said. “I had given up hope. They closed my case and I knew that the only way I`d ever get justice was if these men raped somebody else. I couldn`t hope for that. I didn`t want that. I could have lived my entire life without justice if it meant they never touched another woman.”
But she takes comfort in the fact that Luth will not be able to hurt another woman for a very long time.
In response to Hirth’s claims that the Independence Police Department dropped the ball in her case, they responded: “We cannot discuss the case because it has been presented to the prosecutor.”
Luth has also been sentenced in the Johnson County deputy’s rape, he got 41 years in prison. The 30 years he got in Jackson County will run at the same time as he serves his sentence in Kansas.
The second man, Newman-Caddell, pleaded guilty to raping the Johnson County Deputy and was set for sentencing Wednesday, but withdrew his guilty plea at the last minute, delaying justice for all in these cases.
Hirth says a third man is still out there.